NORMAN, Okla. -- After opening play on Friday with a run-rule win, the No. 1 Oklahoma softball kept the bats going in the evening with a 10-2, six-inning victory over Drake at Marita Hynes Field.
Sophomore Lauren Chamberlain provided the muscle, hitting a pair of tape-measure home runs as the Sooners (20-1) picked up their fifth run-rule win of the season by beating the Bulldogs (13-9).
“I think that they have been waiting for an opportunity to really unload,” Oklahoma head coach Patty Gasso said. “Obviously, [Lauren Chamberlain and Shelby Pendley] are [doing interviews] because you saw what they did tonight.
“But there are little things like Brianna Turang, her base-on-balls are really something valuable because it puts Lauren back up to the plate with runners on. Moving Shelby in the three-spot , she took off with that the second game. She really has been hitting the ball well over the last week.”
Over the last seven games, Pendley is 13-16 (.812) with a .875 on-base percentage and a 1.500 slugging percentage. She has scored seven runs, driven in nine more, hit five doubles and two home runs and picked up eight walks during that span for OU.
Senior pitcher Keilani Ricketts got the win and improved to 10-0 on the season. She struck out 11 batters to move into 15th place on the NCAA Division I list with 1,371 for her career. Ricketts allowed two runs on five hits and did not walk a batter.
The victory came in Ricketts’ 136th career start, an Oklahoma record. She entered the game sharing the title with Jennifer Stewart (1999-02) and Kami Keiter (2002-05) at 135.
After two scoreless innings, Oklahoma got on the board in the third.
With senior Brianna Turang on first and one out, sophomore Georgia Casey lined a double to center field. Shelby Pendley, who was 3-3 with seven RBI earlier in the day against Northern Colorado, followed with an RBI double of her own.
Oklahoma broke the game open the next inning, scoring five runs to take a 7-0 lead.
With two outs, junior Javen Henson walked and took second on a single by senior Brianna Turang. Chamberlain then hit her first home run of the game, a three-run shot over the bleachers in left center.
“I was just working on getting a good pitch, seeing it in the zone, trying to keep my bat alive as long as I can, seeing a lot of pitches, and when my pitch comes to get after it,” Chamberlain said. “I want to touch on the bottom of our lineup doing their job to get the lineup turned over again. The bottom of our lineup is just as strong as the top, and I think that is really important, and it is going to be really huge for our success this season.”
Casey kept the inning going with a walk and Pendley’s single to right field moved Casey to third. A walk to senior Keilani Ricketts loaded the bases before fellow senior Jessica Shults singled back up the middle to plate two runs.
Drake score two runs in the top of the fifth, but the Sooners matched the Bulldogs with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame. Again with two outs, Turang drew a walk and Chamberlain followed with another mammoth shot.
This time, the ball was hit to straight-away center field, clearing the American Flag behind the batter’s eye. It was Chamberlain’s 11th home run of the season and the 41st of her career, moving her ahead of Ricketts for sixth place on OU’s all-time list. It was the 10th multi-home run game for Ricketts.
Leading 9-2, Oklahoma clinched the run-rule win in the bottom of the sixth.
Pendley walked and took third on a double by Ricketts. Shults was intentionally walked to load the bases for sophomore Callie Parsons. She hit a soft liner off the first baseman’s glove, which allowed Pendley to score the winning run.
Oklahoma returns to action on Saturday. Impending weather in the afternoon has prompted the game times to be changed. OU will now play Northern Colorado at 11 a.m. and Drake at 1 p.m.